What is Exemestano?
Exemestano is a brand of exemestane (Aromasin) an aromatase inhibitor approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat:
- postmenopausal women diagnosed with hormone-receptor-positive, early-stage breast cancer after they’ve taken tamoxifen for 2 to 3 years to reduce the risk of the cancer coming back.
- postmenopausal women diagnosed with advanced-stage or metastatic hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer.
Women stop taking tamoxifen when they start taking Exemestano.
Aromatase inhibitors can’t stop the ovaries from making estrogen, so aromatase inhibitors are mainly used to treat postmenopausal women. But because aromatase inhibitors are so much more effective than tamoxifen in postmenopausal women, researchers wondered if there were a way to successfully treat premenopausal women diagnosed with hormone-receptor-positive, early-stage breast cancer with an aromatase inhibitor. Results from the SOFT (Suppression of Ovarian Function Trial) study published in 2015 suggest that premenopausal women diagnosed with hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer can be successfully treated with Exemestano if their ovarian function is suppressed. If you’re a premenopausal woman willing to take medicine to suppress your ovaries, you may be able to take Exemestano instead of tamoxifen for your hormonal therapy treatment.
How should I take Exemestano?
Take Exemestano exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets.
Exemestano is usually taken once per day, after a meal. Try to take the medicine at the same time each day.
You will need frequent medical tests. Your doctor may have you take extra vitamin D while you are taking Exemestano. Take only the amount of vitamin D that your doctor has prescribed.
Use Exemestano regularly to get the most benefit. You may need to keep taking this medication for up to 5 years.
Store in the original container at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
What happens if I miss a dose of Exemestano?
Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.
What happens if I overdose on Exemestano?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What special dietary instructions should I follow while taking Exemestano?
There are several foods you should avoid while taking Exemestano you can find them in this article. Taking these foods can affect the way the medication works or increase the risk of side effects.
What are the side effects of Exemestano?
Exemestano may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
• changes in vision
• difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
• feeling worried or anxious
• hair loss
• hot flushes
• increased appetite
• muscle or joint pain
• red, itchy skin
• swelling of the arms, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
• chest pain
• shortness of breath
Your bone mineral density (BMD; a measure of the strength of the bones) may decrease while you are taking Exemestano. This may increase the chance that you will develop osteoporosis (a condition in which the bones are fragile and break easily). Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking Exemestano.
Exemestano may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
What drugs can interact with Exemestano?
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor’s approval.
Some products that may interact with Exemestano drug include:
- Estrogens (such as ethinyl estradiol, conjugated estrogens).
- Estrogen blockers (such as anastrozole, tamoxifen), tibolone.
What are some frequently asked questions about Exemestano?
Can Exemestano be used for bodybuilding?
No, Exemestano is not approved for use in bodybuilding. In fact, it’s illegal to buy the drug for this purpose. The drug is also banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency for bodybuilding. If you have other questions about Exemestano, talk with your doctor.
How does Exemestano compare with tamoxifen?
Exemestane (Exemestano) and tamoxifen are both prescription drugs used to treat certain kinds of breast cancer. Exemestano is available as a tablet that you take by mouth. It comes in both brand-name and generic versions. The generic is called exemestane.
Tamoxifen comes in two forms: a tablet that you take by mouth and an oral liquid solution. The tablet is available only as a generic. The oral liquid solution is also available as the brand-name drug Soltamox.
Your doctor may have you first take tamoxifen, then switch you to Exemestano. This can depend on different factors, such as how well tamoxifen treats your cancer. In some cases, your doctor may have you take both medications.
For more information about how Exemestano and tamoxifen compare, talk with your doctor. They can advise you on the right treatments for you.
What should I know about Exemestano vs. Arimidex?
Both Exemestano and anastrozole (Arimidex) are drugs that belong to the same group of medications, known as aromatase inhibitors. These drugs treat certain types of breast cancer by preventing your body from making a hormone called estrogen.
Certain drugs speed up how quickly Exemestano is removed from your body. If you take any of these, your doctor may adjust your dosage. Before starting treatment with Exemestano, share information about all your medications with your doctor.
Will I need to take Exemestano long-term?
Maybe. Exemestano is usually used for up to 5 years. For certain types of breast cancer, the drug may be used for as long as 10 years. Ask your doctor how long you may need to take Exemestano.
Can Exemestano be chewed, crushed, or split?
No, you shouldn’t chew, crush, or split Exemestano tablets. You should swallow them whole. If you have trouble swallowing pills, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Should I take Exemestano with food?
Yes. You should take Exemestano with a meal. This should help your body better absorb the drug. If you have questions about when to take Exemestano, talk with your doctor.
How long does Exemestano take to work?
Exemestano starts to work soon after you take a dose. But it may take several weeks to see any improvement in your condition. Your doctor will order regular blood tests and imaging tests to see how Exemestano is working to treat your breast cancer.
What should I know about Exemestano vs. letrozole?
Exemestano and letrozole (Femara) are drugs that belong to the same group of medications: aromatase inhibitors. These drugs treat certain types of breast cancer by preventing your body from making a hormone called estrogen.
If you’d like to see an in-depth comparison of these two drugs, refer to this article. Then check with your doctor about which treatment is best for your condition.